Question: Why is Iskandar called Dhu’l-qarnain?
There is disagreement as to whether Hadrat Dhu’l-qarnain was a prophet or a walî, just as it is the case with Luqmân ‘alaihis-salâm. It is not necessary for us to know whether he was a prophet. It is said that he was called Dhu’l-qarnain because he ruled over the East and the West. There are other reports as well.
Allahu ta’âlâ told Hadrat Dhu’l-qarnain that He placed light and darkness at his disposal so that he would invite several tribes with different languages to the religion and that the tribes would thus follow him. Consequently, he ruled over the world.
The name Iskandar refers to three different persons:
1. Alexander the Great: He was the son of Philip, the king of Macedon. He lived before the advent of Hadrat ‘Îsâ and died at the age of 33.
2. Iskandar: He was the ruler of Yemen, who proceeded until China.
3. Iskandar: He is the holy person who is referred to as Dhu’l-qarnain in the Qur’ân al-karîm. He was the descendant of Yâfas and the son of the maternal aunt of Khidir ‘alaihis-salâm. He lived before the other two. He confined the tribe called Gog and Magog to between two mountains and surrounded the mountains with a stone and iron wall with a height of 100 meters. The Great Wall of China is different from this.
People asked Hadrat Dhu’l-qarnain:
“Do you love your father or your master more?”
“I love my master more because my father caused me to come into the world. But my master is the cause of my endless bliss.”
When he was dying, he said:
“Though I have held the world in the palm of my hand, now I am going empty-handed.”
The world will be no one’s property. Since all people will be requited in the Hereafter as per their deeds, they should do their best to do righteous deeds.